Friday 90s Focus: Rick Astley

Because it’s April Fools Day, you’d think that RickRolling would be appropriate.  Of COURSE it is, but instead I will present another Astley tune.  This one is also terrible, but I’ve got to keep in line with this 90s thing (“Never Gonna Give You Up” was from 1987).  This is “The Ones You Love” from 1993 (by way of the 1980s sonically).

No seriously, this is terrible.

Now get out there and go buy some De-3D Glasses or something like that.  Or do your own job and RickRoll yourself.  Whatever you prefer.

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Worst Music 2008: The Greatest Man that Ever Lived

Weezer Strikes Again

After covering so much that is positive in music from 2008, we now come to this – the worst that the year had to offer. The discovery is no longer so surprising; we again find Weezer responsible for the greatest lack of quality. But the surprise is that they’ve managed to top even themselves in crafting the worst song in their entire catalogue.

The Red Album: Lyrical Abomination

Before we proceed, I’d like to discuss the polished turd that is Weezer (The Red Album). I’ve tried to write a review for this, and I find the act very difficult. On the one hand, we see Weezer hit a pre-Green Album height with the witty and catchy “Pork and Beans.” This song alone would probably carry most albums to moderate critical approval – it’s a heavy hitter and well constructed.

But they managed to ruin everything. Every other song on the album is completely terrible. Particularly, the lyrics are cringe-worthy across the board, offering weak rhymes and terrible images. The whole thing seems lazy and half-assed (not even forced – just awful). There are so many examples of such weakness that it is difficult to articulate the entirety of what The Red Album offers.

“Troublemaker” is an immediate offender, where lazy couplets such as “books” rhymed with “crooks” try to convey some inspiration. I only see the use of a free rhyming website. Things only worsen when Cuomo states

“‘cuz I can’t work a job like any other slob / punching in and punching out and sucking up to Bob / Marrying a biotch having seven kids.”

Fortunately, you can’t hear the vocal inflection in such a textual form. Unfortunately, if you do (and please do not) listen to the song, a terrible discovery jumps right out – “biotch” is rhymed with “kids.” Do not ask how (something like kee-odds is pronounced), just run away.

“Heart Songs” only manages to show great insincerity with very weak lyrics. The entire catch is Cuomo referencing important songs that have guided him throughout his life (“heart” songs). Unfortunately, the turning point is a poorly structured reference to Nirvana’s breakthrough Nevermind. Simply, the effort put forth to keep the phrases a uniform syllabic length is obnoxious. Such change in cadence shows throws the listener askew and is extremely distracting. It’s really disheartening to remember that Weezer once put together tight songs like “Say It Ain’t So.”

As a final reference point, “Everybody Get Dangerous” has one of the simplest ways of offending – creating a stupid chorus. Yes, everything else is idiotic (the negation of cow-tipping because “I didn’t want the cow to feel sad” is especially groan-worthy), but the refrain stands tall and makes this one of the most moronic songs ever.

“Boo-yah”

Yeah. Seriously. I cannot make this up. The statement “Everybody get dangerous” is followed up with a “boo-yah.” Please make them stop.

The Worst Song of All Time

In the past, I may have described Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” as the worst song of all time. I assumed that no band could ever match the insane levels of pure suck that were displayed in that recording. Little did I know – Weezer would make everything even worse.

I just can’t begin to wrap my head around what they were thinking in even constructing this song. It starts at the point where we last saw Weezer work to achieve new points in “awful.” Yes, they’re rapping again, now with terrible lyrics about getting in someone’s underwear. But the song is full of 10-second outbursts of sound that gravitate around a central guitar riff that appears throughout. So the rapping ends.

And then you pray that it returns. Instead of improving, Rivers Cuomo uses falsetto. This sounds worse than even the lowest of American Idol rejects, and you cry out in pain.

The schizophrenia on display continues as Weezer jumps into a guitar pop that holds their patented sound from the past. But this is only momentary as synthetic sounds hop in and fill out the sound, segueing into another awful segment.

Here, Rivers Cuomo talks about being a “player.” And then it happens. He tell us:

“And bodies be all up on my behind.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it is over. We have lost the nerdy, introspective Weezer that once filled our ears with joy and wonder. It has been replaced by a commercialized, fame-seeking band that only moves toward greater sales.

I think that for our sakes, we should now describe “old” Weezer as the real version of the band. At present, this collaboration of people under the Weezer name is not creating music to match the legacy. It sucks.

Now we can only look forward to each Weezer release and wonder what terrible song they’ll create next. Our ears can only hope that they quit trying to outdo themselves every time.

Review: Make Believe by Weezer

Weezer created two of the greatest albums of the 1990s. This fact is something to talk about, especially given some of the excellent music to result from the decade. Both the debut Weezer and the sophomore release Pinkerton showed the band’s amazing sense of melody and excellent wordplay

In their debut album, Weezer demonstrated that a perfect pop album needn’t be mindless nonsense to feed to the ignorant masses. Instead, clever lyrics, great guitars and absolutely catchy songs propelled the album to greatness. Nearly every song could have been a single, and each was full of more hooks than can possibly be imagined. There were no weak links, no false steps, and no annoying songs that you might skip to get to a better one. The whole album was full of highlights and simply shimmered with excellence. Certainly, some songs were more popular, but these weren’t any better or worse than the non-singles – they were all amazing.

Pinkerton followed by leaving the immediately enjoyable pop sensibility of Weezer. Instead of joyful songs with bright guitar solos, the band took a turn for the dark and personal. More difficult compositions and densely layered sounds made this album difficult to approach but infinitely excellent to love. Deep emotional turmoil was the highlight as frontman Rivers Cuomo expelled many personal demons and revealed an insecure individual behind the microphone. Powerful and memorable songs carried Pinkerton into the ears of its followers and validated Weezer’s excellence.

Sadly, Weezer’s excellence has been entirely invalidated. With song after horrible song, we must now look at the absolute mess that is Make Believe.

The experience begins with the worst song of Weezer’s career (and perhaps the worst song in years). “Beverly Hills” attempts some terrible combination of rap and rock and plummets into some chasm between the two. Not even the guitars can save this junk, as a terrible shot at a wah-wah solo (think Frampton but awful) just confirms the terror.

Initially, “Perfect Situation” seems to redeem the band, but it is merely the effect of following the low point on an album – everything seems better in comparison. Yet as soon as Rivers begins to talk, your mouth will move to a wince. Pathetic wordplay drives this song as it tries to find a groove. The music is nice enough (something to move your leg to as you listen), but the tortured soul of Pinkerton now sounds like a pathetic creep here.

No further hope is found in the third, fourth or fifth songs as childish lyrics ruin any hope of extracting joy from potentially decent melodies. Pathetic examples include “All these problems on my mind make it hard for me to think,” or “I don’t want to be a chump/You think I’m a fascist pig” or “Hold me/Take me with you cause I’m lonely.” Nothing sounds real and Rivers is just pathetic.

Yet as if “lower” could not seem to be achieved, the band tries again with “We Are All On Drugs.” The terrible melody can’t even work as counterpoint here – the whole song is awful. The constant repeat of the verse “on drugs” becomes grating within the first few seconds (and the song lasts a full three minutes and 30 seconds). Try as the guitar solo might, nothing works to even improve this song to “embarrassing.” It is just terrible and should be skipped without even a single listen.

More songs follow the format seen in earlier mediocre material on the album until “My Best Friend” appears. This is seemingly the only “good” song on the entire record. With an upbeat tempo matching the generally happy lyrics, the song seems to fit itself. However, weak lyrics erode the song and leave an unsatisfying taste in the ears. However, the song still manages to be okay. Perhaps the whiny Rivers should have stuck to this jubilant tone when writing the rest of the Make Believe.

Unfortunately for determined listeners, two of the worst tracks are saved for the end. “Freak Me Out” is very different from the rest of the album with its laid-back, new-wave feel. However, downright stupid phrases manage to ruin this potentially interesting song.

Finally, as if to simply kick you in the ears for trying to extract something good from the album, “Haunt You Every Day” finishes Make Believe on another low point. By beginning the song with “I don’t feel the joy/I don’t feel the pain,” fear immediately overtakes the listener. This forced and unfortunate lyric translates as expected from the album – into a terrible song with inferior musicality and idiotic phrasing.

With only one potentially redeeming song on the entire album, Make Believe is a complete failure of popular music. Where the past Weezer would have worked to create catchy music, this version of the band tries to force interesting songs, only to find repeated junk. By starting with such a piece of crap as “Beverly Hills,” Make Believe never stands a chance and only manages to get more annoying over time. Don’t buy, listen to, download, or even look at this album. It is one of the worst things I’ve ever listened to.

RATING: 0.0/10